Summary: We cannot survive in isolation. We cannot serve in isolation. We must be connected, first with God and then with others.
Faith Bible Church’s focus for 2015 was on “Discipleship.” This was part of the Mission emphasis as we formulated a mission statement based on Matthew 18:19-20.
Today, I am introducing our 2016 theme. This is fitting because today is our first Sunday of the New Year!. The theme that I want us to focus on this year is CONNECTING
This new theme for 2016 does not mean that we are changing direction. Our mission is still the same. We are simply taking the next step in order to fulfill this mission.
The Mission of the Church cannot be fulfilled in isolation. It is through relationships that we accomplish the task to
PRESENT Christ as Savior,
PURSUE Christ as Lord,
PRAISE God as King.
God never created the human heart for isolation.
We were created for relationships.
Isolation quenches our heart
Isolation robs our joy/
Isolation depletes our health
Isolation can shorten our life.
I was moved by the story of Navy Captain Eugene “Red” McDaniel
McDaniel was a POW for 6 years at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”
He was brutally tortured for not giving up the names of the prisoners who helped plan an escape. His communist captors wanted to keep all of their American guests isolated and vulnerable. Prisoners caught trying to communicate would be tortured, and McDaniel had already been through that. McDaniel came to fear isolation more than the threats of torture.The highlight of each day was being taken to the washroom, where he managed to whisper briefly with two other Americans brought in at the same time. They told him about the camp code, an acrostic system that involved using taps to spell out letters of the alphabet. If a new prisoner couldn’t learn the code and communicate with fellow Americans within thirty days of his arrival, he would gradually start to draw inward and deteriorate. Those that didn’t communicate, didn’t make it.
We cannot survive in isolation
We cannot serve in Isolation
We must be connected.
Hence, the upcoming 4 PART SERMON SERIES
Connecting with God
Connecting with Others
Connecting with Ministry
Connecting with the World
We begin today with a passage that teaches the importance of spiritual unity.
“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18–22, NIV84)
The first consideration about connecting with others to form spiritual unity is to realize that: Our Ability to Bless Others Flows from our Connection with God.
The Context of Ephesians 2 demonstrates this as it covers the two primary themes if Salvation and Spiritual unity.
SALVATION. This is summarized in the familiar verses on salvation, Eph 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NIV84)
SPIRITUAL UNITY. This second theme of Eph 2 is found in Eph 2:11-22 “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18, NIV84)
The chapter emphasizes SEPARATION and UNITY. Notice the following descriptions of separation and unity:
Believers are separated from a life of sin “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1, NIV84)
Believers are separated from God’s wrath. “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3, NIV84)
Believers are united with Christ (seated with Christ). “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6, NIV84)
Gentiles (those who trust Christ) are brought near to Christ. “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—” (Ephesians 2:11, NIV84)
All believers whether Jew or Gentile are made one. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14–16, NIV84)